THE “X-Y” FACTOR: YOUNG ACTIVIST RECLAIMS BLACK MANHOOD
Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Just at the dawn of a new decade the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our nation. As the disease plagued the world and claimed millions of lives as many of us were subject to quarantine orders or the impact of such, most of us wondered what life had in store for us if we were even fortunate enough to survive it. With the pandemic we also withstood the devastating impacts of systemic racism as our nation and the world protested the murder of George Floyd. The aftermath of these events was filled with anger, anxiety, and a healthy fear of what life had in store for our nation. Despite safety regulations those same emotions were the driving forces that led us from our homes with picket signs and face masks demanding justice from our government and forcing the world to accept that Black lives matter. After years of injustice peaceful protests that were led in the sunlight morphed into violence, looting, and lawlessness in the evening as misguided vandals merged with well-meaning allies that constructively exercised their democracy.
All three circumstances above adversely affected people of color with police brutality and COVID-19 claiming the lives of Black people at indiscriminate rates. Yet the vandalism that ensued during these protests was not only a reflection of the understandable rage against a system that is stacked against us, unfortunately it was a revelation of moral and judicial suicide that further diminishes our own self-respect and respect from those that are assigned to serve and protect us. Most of these establishments that were vandalized or demolished were in the neighborhoods of the people that demanded justice yet, none of those merchants were responsible for our plight. Akin to the George Floyd murder, the vandals were also caught on video. The caveat is that most of them did not fit the description of a White man with a gun and badge, but the very ones who demand accountability. While the vandalism expanded to White-owned establishments many wrote it off as an excuse for the injustices that Black America experienced for over 400 years. While these criminals naively thought they avoided the stigma of Black-on-Black crime, whatever they retrieved was used for their own self-indulgence and ultimately served no justice for Black America. Since justice came swift to whoever was caught, the charge of Black-on-Black crime still applied for self-genocide and enhancing the stigma against the Black community. This self-destructive pattern has plagued our communities for decades as many young Black men in record numbers have fallen prey to the pitfalls of crime, incarceration, and death. By and large, the pattern behind this behavior is the lack of fathers in the home or positive male role models to help them shape their lives for the better. It is due to this epidemic that many Black community organizations have formed alliances amongst themselves to eradicate the problem with hands-on intervention.
Community activist, King Randall, I has been at the forefront of this movement for self-help and change in his hometown of Albany, Georgia since he was 19 years old and founded The X for Boys charter school in January 2019. At 21 years old the former Marine has skills as a trained chef, construction, automotive repair, firearms training, and an array of activities which will be taught to underprivileged Black boys at The New Life Preparatory School in his hometown. Having harnessed many of his life skills from his late grandfather and former stepfather King has used his talents to teach youngsters between 11-17 years of age who have fallen through the cracks of fatherless homes and juvenile detention centers. As a survivor of child sex abuse he also provides counsel to boys who have also been molested. Although 90% of the children who enter his program have poor reading skills, he boasts an 86% reading improvement rate for most of his students.
According to Mr. Randall, it is senseless for us to wait for the government to finally grant us reparations and give us the 40 acres of land that was initially promised us. Instead, he became a proactive force and through donations that are steadily increasing he purchased the 40 acres himself to fulfill his vision of creating a boarding school for underprivileged boys. Because manhood has become a “lost art”, especially in the Black community, as a conservative his goal is to use his program to help young boys cultivate those skills that are the traditional cornerstone of manhood. Essentially, he is a surrogate father to the fatherless. With crimes and recidivism at an all-time high in the Black community many were raised by single mothers and misguided males who ‘identify' as men as they thrive on toxic masculinity not knowing what manhood entails. The latter does not suggest flawlessness in Black girls and women since they are equally subject to the dysfunction in our communities. Commonly, single Black mothers are left with the responsibility of trying to raise their boys into manhood without inherent male rites of passage from a mature man.
For that reason, The X for Boys is exclusively tailored to boys. As he eloquently described in his interview on the Comedy Hype Show with Rita Brent there is a non-negotiable “penis requirement” which excludes girls. Since he was raised by strong and positive women, he insists that there is no sexist connotations behind his decision, yet he factually reasons that there are a multitude of girls clubs with only a few designated exclusively for boys. One of the most prominent clubs for boys was the Boy Scouts of America which was renamed 'Scouts BSA' to include girls, transgender, and non-binary youth. Controversy followed the latter decision because opponents of the change argue that although the new policy promotes inclusion, which was demanded by females who felt that they were denied equal opportunity to earn the distinguished Eagle Scout badge, it also subtracts from that sacred 'male cave' which nullifies the BSA abbreviation. Notably, the Girl Scouts of America still exists without apologetic concessions.
Unfortunately, King has felt the same pressure from some of his supporters to include girls in his boarding school. After praising his phenomenal work on her show and giving his school a $5000 donation, Kelly Clarkson hinted a request to inform her of the "girl version" in the future. Amidst the backlash he confidently reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to the mission that God has appointed him to fulfill: raising boys into men.
During the onset of his activism King mission was primarily geared to mobilizing the Black community as he led marches in Albany with Black men holding "I AM A MAN" picket signs in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also referenced leaders like Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass which probably motivated his Black supporters. King’s initial mission as posted in the website introduction video was to build the school specifically for underprivileged Black boys. However, he came under further scrutiny from the Black community when he announced that he would invite boys of other races as the program expanded. The scrutiny of King's integrity to the Black community was magnified by his posts and tweets that often speak in mocking opposition to liberals, Black leaders, and Black journalists who embrace Democratic values. Following a Twitter debate where talk show host Roland Martin challenged King and other Black conservatives about their position on the voter suppression laws in Georgia, he was invited to an interview on Roland Martin Unfiltered. Though the show was about voter suppression laws, upon request King explained that voting was 'not his fight' and explained his mission to save Black boys before they die. Agreeably, Roland was overbearingly aggressive as usual when debating with people who disagree with him which led most of his own followers to support The X for Boys and multiply King's following in protest of Roland's handling of that podcast.
Like Roland's followers I also followed King Randall in support of his cause. Upon review of Roland's "Twitter receipts" and further analysis of King's mission statement I realized that there were more layers behind the Roland vs. Randall Scandal that met the eye. Though King insists that he's a conservative and not a Republican, subtle hints suggest that his core beliefs and dress code are strategically redlined. With dark suits and red ties, "Make Men Great Again" t-shirts, and red color schemes on his webpage the pattern subtly suggests a following of Donald Trump. Like his signature style, his mission became a victim of such, as his application to open his own charter school was denied by the school board of Albany, which ultimately intensifies his fight with the government that he so desperately believes he can avoid.
Based on his followers I conclude that I'm in the 1% anomaly that actually supported Roland's position on voter suppression laws, which King eventually had to own. To his credit, evidence of King's work is the academic success rate of his students and the life skills that they acquired under his leadership. Metaphorically speaking, whatever King is trying to build must have a solid foundation to support it. Equally, the fertility of the soil will determine the health and longevity of the crops produced on the land he acquired. Since all nations have government the power to vote on solid legislation is the cement foundation American dreams are built on and the soil that will grow its crops. Failure to vote will compromise the strength of both under which all buildings will crumble and crops will die.
King is the soil and his students are the fruit that he produces. With all due respect to his political beliefs, since his students will eventually take part in the voting process, the Black community as a whole will respect him more if he educates them about the reality of all racist policies that threatens their democracy. Since he got them to keep their pants up he cannot afford to get caught sagging. I would hate to question if his greater mission for Black boys is to raise men or recruit Republicans. The latter they should decide for themselves. As the engineer on the Overground Railroad he must know how to read the iron as well as he can weld it, and know the diverging route signals leading to the far Right, or the far Left. To be the Turning Point for Black America he must know if the trailing point is set in his favor. Otherwise, he will derail his high-speed train with his students on board. Hence, if they live to tell about it instead of repairing cars they'll work much harder repairing their lives.
Though I congratulate his acquisition of 40 acres, I hope he doesn’t wind up being the mule. As a follower I still support his mission, while keeping an eye on where he’s leading me. May God be with him.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to The X for Boys may do so at thexforboys.org/donate.
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